The question was brought up today, "How much is Missoula different now, than from the '90's?". Of course since I am from here there were a few glances my way. My first response was, "Where to begin?". I started to tick through a lot of the ways that Missoula has changed over the past 30 plus years. There is so much that has changed that I would have to write an entire novel fit it all in. Here are a few of the big ones that popped into my head right away and mean something to me. I am sure there will be more coming.

Malfunction Junction

Yes we have had our city layout make national news for decades, and not for good reasons. "Malfunction Junction" was where 3 main roads all converged. Russell, South Ave. and Brooks. It was the longest light in the history of the world, maybe not, but it sure felt like it at the time. So now we still have "Malfunction Junction" but with only 2 streets that go through the traffic lights. It still feels like the longest light in the history of the world.

Reserve Street

Before the box stores settled on North Reserve, many people used that street to go North and South, it wasn't always four lanes, but it was always busy. The day that they made it four lanes it was already past capacity of what it was designed to handle.

Peace Sign

We used to have a huge peace sign on top of Waterworks Hill that you could see from all over the city. It was painted on what looked like a billboard, but was actually a telephone tower that was supposed to reflect microwave signals. It was so much more than that, it was cool, it was Missoula and it was eventually taken down. If you question why they sell these weird little bumper stickers with a hill and what looks like a peace sign on a billboard, that is what they are. It is still way cool to see a bumper sticker with the peace sign on it on a car in a different city or state.

The "Mounds"

In the early 90's there wasn't a skateboard park in Missoula, so skaters had to skate wherever they could. On the University of Montana Campus between the library and the University Center there used to be little rolling hills that were partially covered in bricks. For skateboarders they were challenging in more ways than one. Not only were they tough to skate, but you would get chased by security if you tried to skate them. That didn't stop us, the only thing that stopped us was the University removed all the bricks. Remember people, skateboarding isn't a crime!


We have grown. It seems like Missoula has just exploded over the past few decades from what I remember. More people, more houses, more traffic, etc. With that comes growing pains. Not all of it good, but not all of it is bad either.

There is so much more to write about this that it may be an ongoing theme, feel free to chime in on what has changed for you since the 90's. I think another great question to explore will be, "What hasn't changed in Missoula since the 90's?".

24 Missoula Businesses That Have Closed in the Last Two Years

A large amount of Missoula businesses have closed over the last couple of years for a variety of different reasons. Retirement, COVID-19, changes in's a list of 24 businesses that we've lost.


More From Z100 Classic Rock